Insegnamento a.a. 2019-2020


Department of Economics

Course taught in English
Go to class group/s: 32
CLEACC (6 credits - II sem. - OP  |  SECS-P/01)
Course Director:

Classes: 32 (II sem.)

Lezioni della classe erogate in presenza

Suggested background knowledge

Students are expected to be comfortable with econometrics and microeconomics to feel at ease with this course.

Mission & Content Summary


This course provides an introduction to the study of development economics. The central aim of the course is to present key theoretical models and related empirical evidence that shape our thinking of economic interactions and policy-making in developing countries. The course begins by giving an overview of growth theory in order to identify potential drivers of economic growth. The first part of the course discusses the role of human capital, history, culture and identity in affecting economic development. The course then analyzes markets and institutions in developing countries, with a focus on how informal and semi-formal institutions have developed to make up for market imperfections in developing countries. In particular, the structure of land, labor and credit markets in developing countries is introduced with a view towards understanding how imperfections in these markets affect the lives of the poor and the economy at large, and shape economic policy-making. The course has a strong applied focus. For each topic, simple theoretical models are introduced to derive testable predictions, followed by a review of the empirical results and their implications for policy.


  • Introduction: Growth Models.
  • The role of human capital.
  • The role of institutions and corruption.
  • The role of informal Institutions and social capital.
  • Land markets and agricultural productivity.
  • Rural labor markets.
  • Self-employment and firm growth.
  • Financial development and microfinance.
  • Program evaluation and policy design.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILO)


At the end of the course student will be able to...
  • Become familiar with some of the key issues related to economic development in low-income countries and poverty alleviation.
  • Have learned about how human capital and the quality of institutions may affect economic development.
  • Understand how imperfections in rural land, labor or credit markets may hinder economic development and what kinds of policies may be effective in improving the functioning of these markets in developing countries.


At the end of the course student will be able to...
  • Discuss some of the key challenges related to economic development in low-income countries.
  • Interpret and think critically about evidence on the effectiveness of various development policies implemented in low-income settings.

Teaching methods

  • Face-to-face lectures


The learning experience of this course is based on face-to-face lectures, with a strong emphasis on in-class discussions. During every lecture, students are strongly encouraged to raise questions and make comments on the theoretical and empirical material presented. The course also has a strong policy focus. Class discussions include the implications of academic studies in terms of policy-making within low-income countries.

Assessment methods

  Continuous assessment Partial exams General exam
  • Written individual exam (traditional/online)
  x x


With the purpose of measuring the acquisition of the above-mentioned learning outcomes, the students’ assessment is based on a written examination (100% of the final grade). The written exam consists of exercises and open questions, aimed at assessing students’ ability to apply the economic models presented during the course and to interpret and critically discuss the evidence on the effectiveness of various development policies implemented in low-income settingsStudents have two options:

  1. They may take the exam in two written parts: 1st partial exam and 2nd partial exam and each part accounts for 50% of the grade (students must pass both partial exams in order to receive a final grade).
  2. They may take a general written exam covering the entire course material.

Teaching materials


Teaching in the course is done mainly from journal articles. The reading list and lecture notes are posted on the Agenda you@B. The following textbooks are used throughout the course:

  • D. RAY, Development Economics, Princeton Univ. Press, 1998.
  • A.V. BANERJEE, E. DUFLO, Poor Economics, Public Affairs, 2011.
Last change 27/05/2019 12:33